Computer Problems Prompt Census Bureau to Rethink Counting Method

Technological issues with the handheld computers to be used in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Census have frustrated officials and have them considering a plan to return to the traditional paper and pencil counting method of years past.

Big worries for the nation's first high-tech census should have been obvious when tests showed some of the door-to-door headcounters couldn't figure out their fancy new handheld computers.

Now, officials say, technology problems could add as much as $2 billion to the cost of the 2010 census and jeopardize the accuracy of the nation's most important survey.

Census officials are considering a return to using paper and pencil to count every man, woman and child in the nation.

At an initial cost of more than $11 billion, the 2010 census was already the most expensive ever. Officials now are scrambling to hold down costs while trying to ensure the count produces reliable population numbers -- figures that will be used to apportion seats in Congress and divvy up more than $300 billion a year in federal and state funding.

Full Story: Fancy computers spell trouble for 2010 census

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